Heat-killed strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus albus can induce in guinea pigs a state of altered reactivity to skin homografts which is indistinguishable from that which results from sensitization with homologous tissues or Group A streptococci. Challenge of suitably prepared recipients with first-set skin homografts obtained from unrelated randomly selected donors elicits white graft reactions or accelerated rejection of such grafts.
Other bacteria tested included Lancefield streptococcal groups B, C, D, E, G, H, L, and O, pneumococcus Types II, III, XIV and a rough strain, Corynebacterium xerosis, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Aerobacter aerogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, Proteus vulgaris, Neisseria catarrhalis, Haemophilus influenzae, and two human virulent strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. None of these microorganisms was active in the induction of homograft sensitivity in the guinea pig. Pretreatment of recipients with Gram-negative bacterial suspensions was associated with a slight increase in the mean survival time of first-set skin homografts.
Results of this study suggest the presence in staphylococci, as well as in Group A streptococci, of antigens related in their biologic effects to tissue transplantation antigens.